George Dobry was born in Poland, and enjoyed a career as an English QC and Circuit Judge. In the early 1990s he founded the British Centre for English and European Legal Studies at Warsaw University, before going on to found the Slynn Foundation, which he conceived as a vehicle for the exchange of knowledge and ideas between British lawyers and judges and their counterparts in the emerging democracies of Central and Eastern Europe.
Gordon Slynn began his career when he was called to the Bar in 1956, becoming a Bencher of Grays Inn in 1970 and Treasurer in 1988 and became a Queens Counsel in 1974. He was appointed Recorder of Hereford in 1971 and as a judge of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court in 1976, serving additionally as President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal from 1978. In 1981, he left both these positions to become an Advocate General at the European Court of Justice (ECJ), and was appointed a Judge in 1988, a position he held until 1992.
He was appointed a Lord of Appeal in 1992, becoming a life peer as Baron Slynn of Hadley. As a member of the House of Lords, he served as Chairman of the House of Lords Select Sub-Committee on European Law and Institutions (1992–95), and as a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Public Service (1996–98) and the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Corruption Bill (2003). He retired as a Law Lord in 2002.
He was appointed President of the Court of Appeal of the Solomon Islands in 2001 and was life President of the Lord Slynn of Hadley European Law Foundation and President of the Civil Mediation Council.
Following his death in 2009, the Foundation organised a celebration of his life at Gray’s Inn. During the evening a number of tributes and presentations to Lord Slynn were given and these and the Slynn Lectures 1999-2007 are now published in book form, view Publications
In the forward to this book, Sir Brian Neill Chairman of the Trustees of the Slynn Foundation 2009-12, wrote of Lord Slynn:
“To those who had the privilege of knowing Gordon Slynn, his defining characteristic was his desire to see that justice was done. Furthermore in his pursuit of justice he was able to draw on his formidable intellect and his astonishing energy. In the tributes that were paid to him you will be able to read of his journeys across the globe and the speed of thought and of decision-making that earned him the sobriquet in Luxembourg ‘le juriste a grand vitesse’.
Many people will remember in particular his time at the European Court of Justice both as advocate-General and later as a Judge where, despite his misgivings about single judgments, he was able to add to the Court’s deliberations some of the clarity and pragmatism of the common law. Others will remember some of his opinions in the House of Lords where his regard for justice and his liberal cast of mind often found expression, perhaps most strikingly in his powerful dissent in the Pinochet case. Others again will remember his visits abroad after he retired a a full-time judge when he was able to share and instill into others in distant lands his passion for the rule of law.
Perhaps, however the most wonderful mark of his greatness as a man was his work in the closing months of his life and despite the ravages of ill-health to help the people of Ahraf in Iran
The word unique is often misused. It is however a very appropriate word to describe Gordon Slynn who deployed his special gifts in so many fields and with such success.”
Introduction to The Lord Slynn of Hadley European Law Foundation – The First Ten Years